With interleague play heading into the last week, is it still a good idea? What can you expect from the return of Rich Harden? Danny Knobler joins Adam Aizer with the latest.
By Evan Brunell
The Royals are preparing for trade season, but caution that they won't just start dealing players if it doesn't make sense.
"We won’t move forward in any direction that doesn’t fit long term with what we’re trying to do,” GM Dayton Moore said. "We’ll always look for ways to improve our baseball team and be open-minded. There are a lot of potentially creative ideas that could exist"
Moore is expected to listen to trade offers for veteran players such as Jeff Francouer, Bruce Chen and the like, plus bigger pieces like Joakim Soria and Billy Butler. While K.C. would charge a high price for Soria, scouts are intrigued by Billy Butler and believe the DH could play in the NL.
“Have you watched Prince Fielder or Ryan Howard play defense?” one scout asked. “I don’t think they’re any better [defensively] than Butler. The bigger concern is he’s not driving the ball like he did in the past.”
Scouts also believe that the most interest will likely come for Wilson Betemit, Melky Cabrera and Mike Aviles. Betemit is being squeezed out but has still put up productive numbers that any team could use in the infield, while Cabrera is hitting for significantly more power than in his forgettable 2010. Aviles, meanwhile, is at Triple-A after being optioned recently, but that may only serve to boost his value.
“Teams love those guys with options,” one scout said. “You stash them away until you need them, and Aviles is one of those guys who has shown he can hit. He’s the type of guy who can really help a good team.” (Kansas City Star)
ON THE HUNT: The Tigers are looking around for starting pitching, as behind Justin Verlander there hasn't been much production in the rotation. Phil Coke just lost his spot to Charlie Furbush, but that appears to be nothing more than a Band-Aid. The problem is that many teams are still in the postseason hunt, shrinking the available candidates. Detroit could use a left-handed starter, which plays well in their park. That could lead to the Royals' Bruce Chen or Astros' Wandy Rodriguez being moved to the Motor City. (Fox Sports)WAITING: Chris Davis has torn apart Triple-A and is proving he has nothing left at that level to prove. Davis has 19 home runs and a .363 batting average in just 24 games. Both manager Ron Washington and GM Jon Daniels admit that Davis is ready for the majors, but the slugger will have to wait for a spot to open. (ESPN Dallas)
SLUMP-BUSTER: The White Sox are headed to Wrigley Field for a weekend series and Adam Dunn has to be hoping a return to friendly grounds will spark his season. Dunn's 1.061 OPS is the highest mark he's registered in any stadium with at least 25 at-bats, an OPS he can only dream of given his current .619 showing. (Baseball-Reference's Dunn page)
HEAD-FIRST: Elvis Andrus will not be diving head-first into bases for some time after spraining the wrist last week on such a slide. "I have to," Andrus said. "I don't want to be in between on that play again. For now I feel comfortable if I go feet first. I used to do it a lot last year every time so it won't be that hard. I just mentally focus and try to protect my wrist for a little while and then when I feel comfortable I will [slide head first] for sure." (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)
DREW BOOED: J.D. Drew was roundly booed Thursday when he entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, marking the first time he played in the Philadelphia series. He would go on to knock a single in the ninth, which he mentioned was his "only source of revenge." Drew also noted he is not booed when out of uniform and doesn't think he is recognized. In the same story, several Red Sox react to the news of Mike Cameron's designation for assignment. (Boston Herald)
THANKS FOR THE HELP: Marcos Mateo shut out the Giants for five innings Thursday, but Chicago needs fresh arms thanks to a makeup game Monday, doubleheader Tuesday and 13-inning gamer Thursday. While Mateo may deserve to stay in the bigs, he could be jettisoned to make room for a fresh arm, which could end up being Kerry Wood, who is ready to come off the DL. (Chicago Tribune)
REHAB SET: Dustin McGowan hasn't pitched in a big-league game since 2008 and already saw his rehab bid set back with forearm stiffness. But now, McGowan will graduate from extended spring training to Class A. He will have 30 days before he must be activated from the DL or put him back on. (MLB.com)
FIRST PITCH: Carlos Zambrano left Thursday's game with lower back soreness in the second, but threw out the first pitch for the National Pro Fastpitch Bandits' softball game later that night. Outrage or no big deal? You decide. (@CSNBoyle)
BEER DROPPING: A combination of both the Cubs and White Sox playing poorly along with less than optimal weather has seen what Rich Harris, a vendor for both teams, says is a 30 percent less load. That's a lot of money for beer vendors, who get paid on commission, to miss out on. "The best thing baseball-wise that could happen from here on out on both sides of town is win, win, win," Harris said. "That would make everyone happy -- the teams, the fans and us." (Chicago Tribune)
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.